Barenaked Ladies offer everything for everyone
FleetCenter, Boston, March 2, 2004
By Jeffrey B. Remz
BOSTON - The Barenaked Ladies may be from Toronto, but they might as well call Boston their second home. The Ladies have enjoyed much popularity here for many years.
And they gave little reason to indicate it should be otherwise during a generally very strong two-hour show in support of last fall's "Everything for Everyone" album.
Barenaked Ladies tend to occupy the jocular, silly end of the musical spectrum, and they certainly did so once again, but they also were a band of much more depth than just being a one-trick pony.
The humor started during a somewhat lengthy video in between acts of a few band members playing "Rock, Scissors, Shoot."
Once the music started, Steven Page proved to be the focal point more often than not. He may look the part of the geeky musician with horn-rimmed glasses, but that could be part of the shtick. The fact of the matter is that he a strong singer, with a full-bodied voice. But his herky-jerky movements with arms and legs aflutter aren't too far behind. Humorous, but one suspects that he really does enjoy himself up there.
When Page isn't handling the vocals, guitarist Ed Robertson is. He is also quite capable of handling the leads.
And the rest of the band contains no slouches either. One of the highlights actually was an upright bass solo from Jim Creggan, who got the place hopping, while including a snippet of what sounded like "Hava Nagilah."
Drummer Tyler Stewart was a steady hand behind the skins as well. And Kevin Hearn was solid on keyboard, piano and during a very fine three-song gather round-the-mic part of the show where he played mandolin.
BNL played a healthy chunk from their most recent disc with "Maybe Katie" a particular highlight.
As for the humor, part of that included a competition between a roadie and a random fan, which in this case was which BNL member, was the biggest hockey fan. Robertson emceed it in funny style with neither roadie nor fan correctly guessing Stewart.
During "Shopping," while Page sang, his mates followed ran about the stage in shopping carts.
But for all the humor, BNL also displayed a serious side. Page talked about a bridge in Toronto, which had been the second most popular bridge in North America - next to the Golden Gate - for committing suicide. Authorities put up a barrier, causing people to move to another bridge.
While noting the black humor, Page also was serious about the need to help those who are down before launching into "War on Drugs."
At two hours, the show slightly flagged at a few points, but then BNL quickly picked up the pace. And closing the regular set with "If I Had a Million Dollars" and a two-song encore left the crowd happy.
So did Gavin DeGraw in his 40-minute opening set. The New York native was a ball of energy, enthusiasm and musical excitement.
Touring off his debut, "Chariot," DeGraw mixed a pop rock side with a very soulful vibe. He did very well with a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." And he mixed it up between the styles enough to keep his set moving and entertaining throughout. "the opening "Crush" and closing "Chariot" were particular highlights.
DeGraw, 27, easily filled the stage with his personality and performance. He has received kudos over the past year and based on his outing here, it wasn't hard to understand why.
In a short 25-minute set, Aussie Butterfly Boucher (that's her real name) opened on solo electric. Boucher showed some talent and intensity in the songs, but probably a full band would have fleshed out the sound more.